Google's Project Loon Ibis-167, Wi-Fi balloon, surfed air currents and dodged the polar vortex
London: Google’s Project Loon Wi-Fi broadcasting balloons can feasibly circle the Earth in 33 days — a feat Ibis-167 recently tried to pull off. Jumping onto swift air currents and quickly changing altitudes, Ibis-167 circumnavigated the globe in a record 22 days.
“It enjoyed a few loop-de-loops over the Pacific Ocean before heading east on the winds toward Chile and Argentina, and then made its way back around near Australia and New Zealand,” Google wrote on Project Loon’s Google+ account.
“Along the way, it caught a ride on the Roaring Forties — strong west-to-east winds in the southern hemisphere that act like an autobahn in the sky, where our balloons can quickly zoom over oceans to get to where people need them.”
Project Loon is Google’s attempt to bring Internet access to everyone on the globe via high-flying balloons. The company announced the project last June explaining that the balloons are solar-powered, remote-controlled, and can navigate stratospheric winds 12 miles above the surface of the Earth — far higher than most planes travel.